Are you thinking about applying for a job in a creative sector? If you are, a creative CV template might be right for you.
A creative CV is a great way to showcase your unique skills and differentiate you in a crowded job market. Creative CVs are usually imaginative, sometimes quirky, and are intended to engage a recruiter in ways regular CVs can’t.
But there’s a lot to consider with a creative CV, and a poorly designed one can be dreadful. So if you’re applying for a job in advertising, design, technology, animation, or any other creative role, let’s learn how to use one properly!
In this article, we:
- Explain what a creative CV is and why they’re so popular
- Break down when you should and shouldn’t use a creative CV
- Demystify which Creative CV templates to use for different situations
- Reveal our best tips on how to choose a creative CV template
- And answer our most frequently asked questions about them
A creative career path doesn’t always move in a straight line, and navigating the twists and turns can be hard. If you have any doubts or questions about your plan, use our career counselling service to get on the right track.
We’ve helped thousands of people succeed in their job search, prep for interviews, negotiate the details of their contracts, and otherwise hit their career targets. Get in touch with us to move forward in your career with confidence.
What is a creative CV?
A creative CV is… well… a creative and non-traditional way of demonstrating your skills, qualifications, and experiences to an employer. In some of the most unique examples, a job seeker might design their CV onto a cereal or other packaging, use a quirky video, or create another elaborate piece of art to submit for a specific creative role.
But, in 99.9% of cases, we recommend using a creative CV template that deviates a bit less from the standard CV layout. You can make your mark and emphasise your personality equally well by incorporating unique layouts, typography, colours, and visual elements.
Staying with the standard one-page, one-or-two-column CV format and tweaking the headings and details gives you wider appeal. You’re more likely to capture the attention of potential employers in a range of job applications going this route than by trying to break the mould entirely.
The growing popularity of creative CVs
The number of applicants using creative CVs has surged in certain industries as candidates look for innovative ways to differentiate themselves. By breaking with convention, creative CV templates capture a recruiter’s attention, make a lasting impression, and can set you apart in a competitive job market.
Creative CV templates let you demonstrate your unique set of skills with different visual options. Instead of relying on text alone, you can use eye-catching design elements, infographics, or multimedia to highlight your abilities.
A creative CV template also lets you put your personality and personal brand front and centre. By incorporating your style in a unique layout or with personalised branding elements, you can showcase your authenticity and how you’d be a good cultural fit with a company.
Using novel design elements helps recruiters and hiring managers quickly grasp your strengths and potential contributions. And adding personal touches increases your chances of resonating with employers looking to build a team.
But this is a case of function over form where less can be more. Don’t make design choices that distract or detract from the information you want an employer to see.
When to use a creative CV template
Creative CV templates are a natural choice when applying for a job where creative approaches and innovative ideas are valued. For example, employers hiring for graphic design, marketing, or advertising roles would love a candidate to showcase their creativity and design skills through their CV.
You should also look at creative CV templates for roles that require strong personal branding, such as freelancers or entrepreneurs. In these cases, a creative CV will let you better convey who you are and what differentiates you in a crowded market.
It’s always a good idea to research the company you’re applying to in advance to tailor your application to the company culture there. Companies with a fresh, hip vibe will be more receptive to a creative CV than stodgy conservative ones.
But note that the role, not the sector, matters in your creative approach. For example, if you’re applying to be an Account Manager at an advertising agency, the company wouldn't expect to get a quirky cereal box CV. But, they might for a design role on their creative team.
Creative CV templates to copy and use
Creative CV template
This is our flagship creative CV template. It has a sleek and modern two-column design that’s amazing for CVs because you can include more information about your work and projects before it looks cluttered.
Use the left-hand column to write your summary and highlight your experience. Then, recruiters can scan the right-hand column for a snapshot of your achievements and education.
We combine fonts for a stylish and practical mix. Large serif headings grab attention, and sans serif body text improves on-screen readability.
And you’re good to go with this ATS-compatible template. In fact, all of our templates are ATS-friendly, so there’s no need to worry about compatibility with any of our templates.
Elegant creative CV template
This design is an instant creative CV classic. The two columns with subtle colour highlights and the tasteful colour background of the right-hand column hit all the right notes for a pitch-perfect creative CV application.
The sans serif font adds a refined touch, and the light font on the darker background adds visual dynamism that’s both pleasing and exciting for the eye. Plus, you can add a photo of yourself in the top right or opt instead to include a personal brand logo or a small image of your own work.
This is also an ATS-friendly creative CV template, so you can be sure to get through the initial screening.
Minimal creative CV template
Our minimal creative CV template works great as a hyper-stylish creative CV. It makes the most of white space and sans-serif fonts to give your resume the clean look you expect in a modern design.
Each resume section is distinct, which helps makes the overall CV inviting and readable. And because we’ve used two columns, you’ll manage to keep everything tidy but still include plenty of info.
Customise the few pops of colour we’ve incorporated to tie in with your brand and to draw the reader’s eye to each section. And use the top right corner to add a photo or logo highlighting your personal brand or work.
Compact creative CV template
Our compact creative CV will help you summarise a long work history in a skimmable one-page design with slightly smaller margins to maximise space. We’ve also cut down on large headings but kept them distinct by changing their size and tonality so they still draw the reader's eye to key information.
Contrasting colour pops and smart icons are used sparingly to grab the recruiter's attention without taking any extra space. The same goes for the right column, where you can highlight your greatest hits in a few short lines.
Our Compact creative CV template lets you include as much info as possible without sacrificing valuable white space. It’s perfect if you have a long work history to describe or extensive credentials you want to highlight.
Tips for choosing the right creative CV template
Balancing creativity and professionalism
You should choose a creative CV template that highlights your unique personality while maintaining a professional image. To find this balance, consider the following guidelines:
Look for a template with a modern design that’s visually engaging but not overly distracting. Opt for clean lines, clear sections, and a balance between text and visual elements.
A good template allows for personal branding while maintaining professionalism. Feel free to incorporate your logo and the colour palette and typography that reflects your personal brand, but be sure they’re tastefully worked in and don’t overshadow the content.
Choose a template that includes all the relevant sections for your industry and target role. While creativity is important, don’t let it come at the expense of leaving out essential information.
A customisable template will give you the flexibility to showcase your personality and adjust your personal details to suit multiple positions. You can personalise the design to align with your style, make sure it stays polished and cohesive, and, most importantly, ensure the sections and info are tailored to the job.
Once you’ve designed your creative CV, reach out to your network for feedback. Get input from trusted peers, especially ones who work in the industry or role, to gauge the effectiveness of your design and find anything you overlooked.
And then, and this is key: incorporate the feedback.
Ensuring readability and clarity
A great creative CV highlights the info you want in a unique way that’s still clear and readable. Remember, it’s still function over form.
To find this harmony, consider the following factors:
Opt for fonts that are professional, legible, and easy on the eyes. If you want to use multiple fonts, choose one that’s bold and stands out for headings, and use a more neutral font for body text.
Avoid decorative or overly stylised fonts that could hurt readability. If you’re in doubt, choose a simpler font or ask a friend for their opinion.
Choose a colour scheme that’s visually appealing but doesn't compromise readability. Consider combining complementary colours, like blues and yellows, or balancing lighter and darker shades.
If you’re using background colours for some sections, ensure that the text colour contrasts and complements it. This will make reading easier than if the text clashes or gets lost in the background.
Look for a template with a well-organised layout that guides the reader's eye naturally so it’s easy to scan. Use clear section headings and subheadings to break up the content, and use bullet points or numbered lists to present information concisely.
White space lets the reader focus on the content and improves overall readability. Sufficient white space maintains clarity and keeps the document from feeling cluttered.
Ensure consistency and restraint throughout your creative CV template in terms of font types, sizes, spacing, and alignment. Consistent formatting creates a cohesive and professional look that’s easier for a recruiter to navigate and understand than if you use different fonts and colours throughout.
Choose fonts and colours that are accessible to individuals with visual impairments. Consider using fonts and colour combinations that meet accessibility guidelines, and avoid using text that’s too small or lacks sufficient contrast.
At the end of the day, your CV represents your professional image, so take the time to choose a template that showcases your strengths and presents you in the best possible light.
If you still have doubts about how your CV compares with others in the industry, contact our career counselling service for an outside perspective.
We’ve helped thousands of people succeed in their job search, and we can help you. Contact us about anything from CV writing and design to interview prep, contract negotiations, and any other questions you have about reaching your career goals
Assessing compatibility with applicant tracking systems
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are a sort of AI that extract and categorise the information from CVs to screen them automatically rather than going through them by hand. They’re efficient, so they’re popular and frequently used by employers in desirable industries who have to go through loads of applications.
ATS systems often scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases related to the job requirements. Using an ATS-compatible template lets you optimise your CV with relevant keywords without worrying about them getting lost or distorted during the review process.
An ATS-compatible template also ensures your CV maintains its formatting no matter what software a recruiter uses to look it over. Consistent formatting will keep your CV professional, organised, and readable, minimising potential confusion during the screening process.
Some creative CV templates have complex layouts or formatting that can confuse the algorithms ATSs use. This can lead to incorrect data extraction, and your CV may be rejected before a real person can read it.
This is especially a problem when making your own creative CV from scratch. By choosing an ATS-friendly template, you can be sure you keep your options open.
The impact of a well-designed creative CV template
- Creative design differentiates you from other applicants
- Allows you to communicate your value in a visually engaging and impactful way
- Lets you incorporate personal branding elements
- Saves time and effort over creating a CV from scratch
- Ensures consistency throughout your document
- Allows you to easily and quickly tailor your CV
- ATS-friendly templates increase the chances of passing initial screening processes.
The ongoing process of updating and adapting your creative CV
It’s a good idea to regularly update and adapt your CV. Maintain this habit to present the most relevant and up-to-date information as you gain new experiences, develop new skills, and as your personal brand matures.
By regularly revisiting and refining your creative CV, you can tailor it to specific roles, industries, or companies. This adaptability lets you showcase the qualities that best suit specific roles.
Updating your creative CV template also lets you refine and evolve your brand. As you gain new skills, certifications, or accolades, incorporate your new education into your CV template to establish yourself as a dynamic and continuously improving professional.
Lastly, updating your CV will help you stay organised and focused on your career goals. By regularly reviewing your CV, you can keep track of the goals you’ve met and plan your next steps.
We’ve helped thousands of people succeed in their job search, and we can help you. Contact us about anything from CV writing and design to interview prep, contract negotiations, and any other questions you have about reaching your career goals.